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Analysis-Unspoken U.S. aim at Iran nuclear talks may be winning Chinese, Russian support

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Analysis-Unspoken U.S. aim at Iran nuclear talks may be winning Chinese, Russian support
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

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By Arshad Mohammed and John Irish

WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) – The stated U.S. aim when indirect U.S.-Iranian talks resume this month is to see if the two can revive a 2015 nuclear deal, but Washington’s unspoken goal may be to win support from China and Russia to pressure Iran if the talks fail, diplomats said.

Western diplomats have said time is running low to resurrect the pact, which then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, earning Iran’s fury and the dismay of the remaining major powers in the pact – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Under the agreement, Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. economic sanctions. Trump’s 2018 decision to reimpose harsh U.S. sanctions prompted Tehran to begin breaching the deal’s nuclear restrictions.

The three European nations have worked hand in glove with the United States to try to restore the deal and Russia has been supportive, notably at the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog that monitors Iran’s eroding compliance.

China, however, has undercut U.S. leverage by buying Iranian oil, throwing Tehran an economic lifeline in violation of U.S. sanctions.

One way to pressure Iran to rejoin the original pact or, if that is not possible, to accept another arrangement would be to persuade Beijing and Moscow that Tehran, not Washington, is the obstacle, diplomats said.

“They need China and Russia,” said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

SHIFTING THE ONUS

While Washington initially got blamed for Trump’s withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions on Iran, the onus may gradually be shifting to Tehran as U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to restore the pact.

U.S. and Iranian officials held six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna between April and June. A new round begins on Nov. 29 after a five-month hiatus triggered by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who said this month that Iran would not back down https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/irans-raisi-vows-no-retreat-nuclear-talks-with-major-powers-2021-11-04 in nuclear talks.

U.S. and European diplomats are frustrated by what they view as Iran’s unrealistic demands, including what one described as a recent insistence that all U.S. and EU sanctions imposed since 2017 be dropped, and their expectations for the talks are low.

This month’s talks will be a chance to gauge whether Iranwants to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and, if not, for Washington to try to garner greater support from China and, to a lesser degree, Russia to put pressure on Tehran.

“(The) Russians are a more helpful partner than China,” said a second Western diplomat on condition of anonymity. The best way to get China’s support was via diplomacy rather sanctioning Chinese companies that buy Iran’s oil, the envoy added.

“We have to talk to China and get them on side,” this diplomat said.

Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed how to “align” their positions before the Vienna talks during their virtual summit this week.

‘GOOD OLD COLLEGE TRY’

The major powers believe the greater their cohesion, the better the chances of bringing Iran back into the deal, said a third Western diplomat.

“It becomes more important when we come to a crucial point in the discussions,” the diplomat added, referring to the next round and Western hopes that China might eventually trim its oil purchases.

Brookings Institution analyst Robert Einhorn suggested Washington may wish to show it had gone the extra mile to revive the agreement.

“(The idea is to) make a good old college try … but if that doesn’t work, make sure that the world sees Iran as the reason for failure,” Einhorn said.

Shifting the onus to Tehran could prove helpful even if Washington concludes the original deal is dead but tries to fashion another agreement.

The State Department has said it will pursue diplomacy even if the JCPOA cannot be saved.

“We want to present Iran with a clear choice about the path forward. That’s our focus, not thinking of who to blame,” said a U.S. official on condition of anonymity.

“We are not naive about what Iran is trying to do by building its nuclear program while talks proceed at snail’s pace. We are adapting our posture to Iran’s actions even as we seek – in good faith – to try to revive the JCPOA,” he said.

“At some point we may conclude with our partners that it no longer is worth saving the JCPOA. We are not there yet. But … it would be wrong to assume our policy is static.”

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Why are modern video games an art form?

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ed dead redemption 2 steam key

Has anyone ever wondered why games are not art? After all, making games is not such an easy job. Creating a game is a thousand times harder than writing a book.

Video games are like movies

We all love to watch movies. We worry about heroes; we can love or hate, the villain or the hero; we watch TV series without missing a single episode.

Games are essentially the same as movies or TV series. Take RD2, for example. A game that made you shed a tear at some points, get nervous, get scared. We feel the same way when we watch our favorite films or TV series. Red Dead Redemption 2 key today you can get at a nice price. 

Let’s remember the nineties. A time when games had a minimal emphasis on story. For example: Mario. At the very beginning of the game the Princess is kidnapped and that’s it, the rest of the time we just run, jump, collect coins, and only at the end we finish the game by killing the boss. The plot was, at a minimum. Now the big companies have screenwriters working for them. It depends on them what kind of story the game will have. Therefore, games can be perceived as movies.

Video games are like fine art

Many have been to art galleries. Everyone has seen many famous works of art on the covers of books, whether it’s Mona Lisa or Claude Monet’s The Poppy Field near Vetheuil. We have marveled at the beauty of these paintings.

The same could be said of games. Dozens of artists in companies work hard to make their world look really picturesque. For example, RD2 is a really beautiful game. The landscapes are very mesmerizing. The game wanted to go through many times to enjoy these landscapes. If you still haven’t managed to do it, use the Red Dead Redemption 2 Steam key

Also Ori and The Blind Forest game can be referred to as this example. The visual style is made on high. You will not see such landscapes in real life. Not a single element is duplicated. The artists did a great job. Such would be the envy of any modern artist.

Games as architecture

When we come to rest in any country, we necessarily visit historic monuments, created by great masters of architecture. The creation of urban locations in modern video games involved the same architects, but instead of a ruler and pencil in their hands using the mouse, graphics tablets and other tools.

Video games as literature

Everyone has read books and in the course of reading imagined what was happening in the story in their imagination. Some games are just like a book, but you don’t have to use your imagination: the developers did it for you. Many of the games were developed based on the books of the same name. The developers managed to convey the atmosphere that we are immersed in while reading the books.

Maybe now a lot of people have a different view on video games. A lot of people think games are something bad, they try to ban them, but you know, you are trying to ban the same art.

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U.S. Capitol riot panel promises new evidence at surprise Tuesday hearing

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A video of former U.S President Donald Trump speaking is shown on a screen during the fifth public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S.

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By Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. congressional committee plans to reveal new evidence about the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters at a public hearing on Tuesday it hastily announced a mere 24 hours earlier.

The House of Representatives committee, investigating the first attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power in U.S. history, declined to answer questions about who might testify or what evidence would be presented.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, is expected to testify, several media outlets reported. Representatives of the panel did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports.

The meeting, announced on Monday, is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT) on Tuesday.

Testimony at five prior hearings has shown how Trump, a Republican, riled thousands of supporters with false claims that he lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden because of massive voter fraud.

British filmmaker Alex Holder, who spent time filming Trump and his family in the weeks after the election, has in recent days testified before the committee behind closed doors and shared video of his interviews with Trump and his family, according to media reports.

The committee has said it intends to interview Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, following reports she may have been involved in efforts to stop Biden’s victory certification at the Capitol on Jan. 6. She has said she intended to speak to the panel.

U.S. law enforcement last week raided the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, who was an enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s false fraud claims.

This month’s hearings featured videotaped testimony from figures including Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his former attorney general, Bill Barr. They and other witnesses testified that they did not believe Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud and tried to dissuade him of them.

Dozens of courts, state election officials and reviews by Trump’s own administration rejected his claims of fraud, some of which included outlandish stories about an Italian security firm or the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tampering with U.S. ballots.

Trump, who is publicly flirting with another White House run in 2024, has denied wrongdoing and accused the committee of engaging in a political witch hunt. He has leveled harsh criticism particularly at Representative Liz Cheney, one of just two Republicans on the nine-member committee.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll early this month found that about two-thirds of U.S. Republicans believe Trump’s false election fraud claims.

The committee, sometime next month, is expected to hold one or two hearings on possible coordination of the Jan. 6 attack by right-wing extremist groups.

During the assault on the Capitol, thousands of Trump supporters smashed windows, fought with police and sent lawmakers, including Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, fleeing for their lives.

Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured, and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.

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Rescuers dig for survivors after Russian missiles demolish Ukrainian shopping mall

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© Reuters. Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kremenchuk, in Poltava region, Ukraine June 27, 2022. Picture taken June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Anna Voitenko

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By Simon Lewis

KREMENCHUK, Ukraine (Reuters) -Firefighters and soldiers searched on Tuesday for survivors in the rubble of a shopping mall in central Ukraine after a Russian missile strike killed at least 18 people in an attack condemned by the United Nations and the West.

More than 1,000 people were inside when two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in Kremenchuk, about 300 km (200 miles) southeast of the capital Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

At least 18 people were killed and 25 hospitalised, while about 36 were missing, Poltava region governor Dmytro Lunin said.

Zelenskiy, in an overnight video address, called the attack deliberate, saying it was “a calculated Russian strike exactly onto this shopping centre”.

Russia said the incident was caused by a strike on a legitimate military target. Its defence ministry, quoted by the RIA state news agency, said it had fired missiles at a storage depot for Western weapons in Kremenchuk, and the detonation of stored ammunition there had caused the fire at the nearby mall.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told Reuters a missile had also struck a nearby factory, but it was closed and not a military target.

“It’s a question about crimes against humanity,” she said. “I think it’s like systematical shelling of civilian infrastructure – with what aim? To scare people, to kill people to make terror in our cities and villages.”

Relatives of the missing lined up at a hotel across the street where rescue workers set up a base after Monday’s strike.

A survivor receiving treatment at Kremenchuk’s public hospital, Ludmyla Mykhailets, 43, said she was shopping with her husband when the blast threw her into the air.

“I flew head first and splinters hit my body. The whole place was collapsing,” she said.

“It was hell,” said her husband, Mykola, 45, blood seeping through a bandage around his head.

At the scene of the blaze on Tuesday morning, exhausted-looking firefighters sat on a kerb. Oleksandr, wetting his face from a water bottle on a bench, said his team had worked all night picking through the rubble.

“We pulled out five bodies. We didn’t find anybody alive,” he said.

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies, at a summit in Germany, said the attack was “abominable”.

“Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account,” they said in a joint statement.

BATTLE FOR LYSYCHANSK

Russia denies intentionally targetting civilians in its “special military operation” which has destroyed cities, killed thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.

The U.N. Security Council, where Moscow wields a veto, will meet on Tuesday at Ukraine’s request following the attack. U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the missile strike was deplorable.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, Ukraine endured another difficult day following the loss of the now-ruined city of Sievierodonetsk.

Russian artillery pounded Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk’s twin city across the Siverskyi Donets River. Ukraine said the Russians attempted to storm it.

Lysychansk is the last big city held by Ukraine in eastern Luhansk province, a main target for the Kremlin after Russian troops failed to take Kyiv early in the war.

Eight residents including a child were killed and 21 wounded by shelling when they gathered to get drinking water in Lysychansk on Monday, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

Ukrainian forces controlled the city but its loss was possible as Russia poured resources into the fight, he added.

“They really want this and a lot of reserves are being thrown just for this…We do not need to lose an army for the sake of one city,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Rodion Miroshnik, the ambassador to Moscow of the separatist Luhansk People’s Republic, said Russian troops and their Luhansk Republic allies were advancing westward into Lysychansk and street battles had erupted around the city stadium.

Fighting was going on in several surrounding villages, and Russian and allied troops had entered the Lysychansk oil refinery where Ukrainian troops were concentrated, Miroshnik said on Telegram.

Russia also shelled the city of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine on Monday, hitting apartment buildings and a primary school, the regional governor said.

The shelling killed five people and wounded 22. There were children among the wounded, the governor said.

During their summit in Germany, G7 leaders vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes” and tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil.

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